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Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center -- Arkansas
Sediment Data Program
Short Title: Sediment Data Program
Project Chief: Dennis Evans
Cooperator: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Memphis District
Project Time Frame: 1997 - present
Sediment concentrations and discharges in rivers and streams must be defined and monitored for effective water resource planning and water-quality assessments. An important part of the USGS mission is to provide scientific information to manage the water resources of the Nation. Long-term sediment records help to characterize geomorphologic and physical channel changes in watersheds, evaluate the effects of best management practices, and predict filling rates of reservoirs used for flood control, irrigation, and water supply. Sediment data are also critical to the evaluation of physical habitat for aquatic life in our Nation's waterways. Sediment is a principal carrier of pesticides, heavy metals, bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants in streams. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reported that sediment in its various forms is the single, most-cited reason for streams not meeting their designated use criteria and consequently being placed on the 303(d) list.
Photograph of USGS scientist using a depth-integrating sediment sampler attached to a wading rod.
USGS collects sediment data at a network of about 13 stations on the St. Francis River Basin in Arkansas. Sediment data are currently collected monthly and seasonally using standardized instruments and procedures and are analyzed for sediment concentration and grain size. Data are published in annual data reports which provide a nationally consistent data set for the assessment of selected water resources of the Nation.
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